Friday, December 7, 2012

Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Soup

    I can already hear some of you saying, "Veal meatball and what soup?"  I'm glad you asked.  Broccoli Rabe is a leafy green vegetable that is slightly bitter and very popular in Southern Italy.  It is also known as Rapini or just Rabe.  Although you'd assume it's a relative of broccoli, it's actually closely related to turnips.  It's a very healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamins A and C and lots of potassium. I really enjoy the little bit of bitterness and also the fact that you can do so many things with it.  It's great in soups, pastas, just as a side, sauteed with olive oil and garlic (really, what isn't good sauteed with olive oil and garlic??), or even made into a pesto.

     Soup isn't something I find myself making every other day, but, when it's cold outside and I'm feeling chilled, I have a few soups in my recipe arsenal that warm me right up.  This is one of them.  I acquired this recipe some years back while watching 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray.  It's a delicious and comforting meal in a bowl....definitely a "keeper".

In case you're unfamiliar.....this is a bunch of Broccoli Rabe.

Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Soup

1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, trimmed (see *note) and cut into large, bite-size pieces
2 tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (1 minced and 3 chopped)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken stock
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1/3 pound Ditalini pasta

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground veal
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2-3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

    Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt.  Drop in the broccoli rabe and cook for 7-8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

    In a bowl, mix together all of the meatball ingredients.  Form into 36 (1") balls and set aside.

    Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over med.-med/high.  Add the chopped garlic, carrots, and onions and cook for 5-6 minutes.

    Add the cannellini beans and heat through for a minute.  Season with the salt and pepper.

    Add the drained broccoli rabe and both stocks.  Cover and bring to a quick boil.

  Stir in the Ditalini.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the little meatballs.

    Taste and adjust seasoning , if necessary.  Serve the soup in shallow bowls with more Romano cheese shaved over the top.  And don't forget the good, crusty bread to go along-side.

Note:  To trim broccoli rabe, cut off about 1" or so from bottoms of stalks and also any yellowed or wilted leaves. Wash in plenty of cold water.



1 comment: